Empowerment center, UTHSC-SA present cancer prevention sessions
The number diagnosed with cervical cancer is increasing, especially among Latinas.
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 18:09
In 2010, the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 12,200 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4,210 died from it.
This year, an estimated 12,170 women will be diagnosed and about 4,220 women will die.
Delana Gonzales, a candidate for a master’s of public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said in a Sept. 12 lecture in the empowerment center that Latinas have a greater risk for cervical cancer because the majority do not have access to screenings or they do not receive enough information about prevention and treatments.
There are more than 100 types of cancer and they all start with an abnormal cell growing out of control, sometimes invading other parts of the body, Gonzales said.
The empowerment center here has partnered with the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute at the health science center with Salud San Antonio Clinical and Health Education Collaborative, or CHEC for Cancer, Gonzales said. CHEC targets Latinos 21 and older about the risk factors and importance of screenings for early detection of colorectal, breast and cervical cancer, she said.
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is one of the main causes of cervical cancer and a papanicolaou test, or pap smear, is crucial in preventing this cancer, or detecting it at its early stages, she said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus.
Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems from it and do not realize they are infected or are passing the virus to a sex partner. CDC also states, it can be prevented with two vaccines called Cervarix (for women only) and Gardasil (for men and women).
Gonzales emphasized the importance of HPV prevention and regular screening for cervical cancer because symptoms don’t materialize until the condition is quite advanced.
Genetics and lifestyle have a role in developing cancer, but the social environment risk factor is the reason for this program, Gonzales said.
“When someone lives in a poor social environment, the attention they give to their health is minimum.” Gonzales said. “They often have to choose between paying bills and a doctor’s visit.”
CHEC will provide navigation support, and eligible participants will have low- or no-cost screenings for breast, cervical or colorectal cancer along with referral for treatment (if diagnosed with cancer) from CentroMed.
CentroMed is a nonprofit health center and is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
CHEC for Cancer will present sessions from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays in Room 112 of the empowerment center at 703 Howard St.
This event is free and open to the public, but participants must be at least 18 years of age and the empowerment center suggests advance registration because each session is limited to 12 participants.
For more information, call the empowerment center at 210-486-0455 or visit www.alamo.edu/sac/swans.